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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

ALEXANDER,  VON HUMBOLDT,               187
greenstone, hypersthene rock, Euphotede and serpen-
tine, Melaphyr, Augit, Uralit and Oligoklas-porphyr,
Basalt^ porphyr-slate, Trachyt and Dolomite. .All
those which former science included among the tran-
sition, horizontal, secondary or tertiary formations,
Humboldt calls the sediment rocks, the precipitates
and deposits of stalactite fluids, such as limestone or
clayslate,- whether the matter has been previously
chemically dissolved in water, or only mixed with it
In fine particles. To this class belong slate, coal de-
posits, limestone, Travertine (fresh water limestone,
flint guhr*), and the real infusoria deposits,a kind
of earth, which, as Ehrenberg has proved, consists
entirely of the bodies of infusoria, and which covers
Immense spots of the earth's surface. The sandstone
formations are those rocks which Huinboldt calls con-
glomerates. Humboldt proved that rocks, formerly
different, may have changed, and that modifications
are still continuing, and may be detected by compara-
tive observations on the slowly-progressing changes in
the great laboratory of nature, by direct chemical
experiments, which, imitating in miniature the great
processes in the laboratory of the earth> give the most
simple conclusions,
^As regards the geographic distribution of the rock&
over the earth, the most prevailing material is car-
bonated lime ; the next is the combinations of silicum
with clay, of kali and natron with limestone, mag-
nesia, or iron oxyde. As regards the age of the for-
mations, the eruptive mountains are the oldest, and if
remains of antediluvian animals and plants are found
In any earth, its later formation Is thereby proved.
An extinct animal and vegetable life lies buried
In the upper and middle strata. Humboldt justly
says: " We ascend into past ages when we descend
from strata to strata, investigating the position of
deposits/'
Humboldt, with his miners eye, surveys the surface